Today is our Five Year Anniversary. And, though we’ve been together much longer, being married to someone is so much different than being in a relationship. (At least to me). Especially when you’re older, there’s kids involved, etc. The dynamic is just different. Every new year in marriage should be acknowledged and celebrated, but year five seems like such a feat.
I am no marriage expert, but here are five of my favorite “lessons” that I’ve learned over the course of my marriage.
1. Go to Sleep Angry. Seriously, it’s fine…
Nothing good is going come from hashing out the same fight over and over again… Trust me on this one. (Especially when either of you are confident that you’re in the right about something). When Jacob and I first got married, I was convinced that we had to solve all of our problems immediately, every arguement needed a solution right then and there. It did neither of us any good. There would be times where we were so frustrated and crying because I just had to have a resolve. Spoiler Alert: The resolve never came when I handled conflict that way.
These days? I go to bed fuming mad some times. Often times, if I feel my anxiety or anger blowing up, I excuse myself from the situation entirely. I’m talking just get up and walk away. Head somewhere to be my myself and cool down. And I know that Jacob does the same thing. And that’s FINE.
You know what? I actually prefer that. It gives us both enough time to stew in our angry feelings and either realize we were in the wrong, go to the other and apologize, or at the very least– it gives us enough time to come back in a calm and productive way to resolve the issue.
MOST TIMES, we realize that it wasn’t even that big of an issue and there’s not a whole lot to be angry about. I would much rather not say or do anything that I don’t mean in the heat of the moment.
The bottom line is this: You’re going to argue, you’re going to disagree, and you’re definitely going to want to tell the other person to just shut up. Figure out the healthiest and most productive way to deal with that in your own relationship. For me, I go to bed angry some times.
(One of you even mentioned on my stories when I asked for your favorite piece of marriage advice to never let things escalate when you know that you’re angry, and I really feel like that goes along with what I’m saying here).
2. Take the Time to Make Time For Each Other
Even if you’re tired, busy, craving some alone time, etc… make actual TIME for eachother. I’m very much aware of mine and my husband’s love languages. His are physical touch and quality time, and I try very hard to make sure that I am giving him that so that his cup is always overflowing.
Between working, busy schedules, taking care of kids– I always try to make sure that I’m saving some of my time for him. I’m not always perfect at this, but I think that trying and making that conscious effort every day is half of the hurdle.
Whether I’m pulling him back in bed in the morning for some quiet snuggling (which is honestly good for my soul as well), staying up late with him to watch a show, or planning ahead for a date night whenever I can. Taking the time to make time for your partner is key.
You don’t even need the leave the house to have a date night!
One of my favorite things that we do is order Chinese Takeout and either watch a movie or watch silly YouTube videos together after the kids fall asleep. You could even cook a nice dinner together, and save some money.
It’s the time spent together, checking in with each other, that I think is really crucial in marriage, and any relationship. I check in with my friends daily to see how they’re doing. Human Connection is something that we all crave.
I find that when I don’t make this effort, I feel less connected to him, and it puts a strain on our marriage when I don’t feel that closeness.
3. Communicate Respectfully, Honestly, and Often.
Coming into this marriage, my communication skills were severely lacking. I’ve really had to put in an effort to work on them. I used to be embarrassed to ask questions, or to say what I was feeling. Sometimes, I have trouble articulating what I’m trying to say, so I would just be quiet instead. Even in a relationship that I feel completely comfortable in, I still struggled.
Finding my voice in life and in my marriage was one of the greatest gifts that I could probably give myself.
I’m not perfect and neither is my husband. I’ve made it a point to try and always say what I’m feeling, and communicate my needs properly.
If I’m uncomfortable, or I don’t want to do something, or I have concerns, I voice that.
In return, I expect and encourage that same open and honest line of communication from my husband. This seems to lessen the amount of issues that we have on a regular basis.
4. Apologize when You’re Wrong and Forgive Always.
I’m stubborn as hell and hardheaded by nature, I’ve had to really learn to apologize when I’m wrong. (I had to learn to admit when I was wrong, too, because I don’t like to be wrong). Some times, it takes me a little while to come back around and apologize, but I always do. When I’m wrong, when I’ve overreacted, if I’ve said something that I don’t mean. I own it, and I apologize.
I’ve also learned to forgive. I’m not talking big huge life-wrecking mistakes here–that’s on a completely personal and situational basis. I’m talking disagreements, just forgive each other whenever you can. Give yourself and your partner some grace whenever possible.
And the biggest lesson that I’ve learned thus far?
5. Don’t Ever Stop Trying.
I am not the perfect wife, and I never will be. But, I show up…every single day. Continuously, I’m trying to think of things that I can do for my husband or say to him to show him that I love him and that I’m committed to this marriage. Whether I’m just making him his favorite dinner, or making sure he’s taking care of himself. I am here, every single day… because I want to be. Because I love him, and I will continue to show up for him.
The moment that I don’t want to try, don’t want to put any effort in, or just generally stop putting any kind of focus on my marriage, I would know that there was a huge problem.
I cannot wait to see what the next five years has in store for us.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned in your relationship/marriage?
And, what is the absolute worst piece of advice you’ve received?